Creating Routines For Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-Care At Home


Living with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be challenging, but learning techniques for effective rheumatoid arthritis self care at home can make a significant difference in managing symptoms and improving your overall quality of life. There might not be a cure for RA at this time, but simple lifestyle adjustments and healthy habits will go a long way toward feeling more comfortable daily.

In this article, we’re discussing the cause of this condition as well as rheumatoid arthritis self-care routines you can do at home for relief. From staying active and eating better to using tools like zero gravity chairs, you’ll see the options for your home treatment are vast. Finding what works for you will help you manage symptoms and handle flare-ups as they happen.

What Is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

First of all, what is rheumatoid arthritis? RA is a chronic autoimmune disease that primarily affects your joints to cause inflammation, pain, and swelling. Unlike osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear on the joints, RA occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your body's tissues. It’s a condition that can lead to joint damage, decreased mobility, and even the potential for bodily deformities in severe cases.

RA commonly affects the small joints in the hands and feet but can also impact other joints and organs. Symptoms often include joint stiffness (especially in the morning), fatigue, and general discomfort. Early diagnosis and treatment of RA are both vitally important to managing symptoms and preventing long-term damage to your body. Thankfully, there are numerous methods for arthritis treatment at home that you can integrate into your routine to help.

Bonus Info: Do you experience RA symptoms? Check out our guide to living with arthritis for even more information on how to find relief after this.

Causes of Rheumatoid Arthritis Flare-Ups

Before we jump into rheumatoid arthritis self-care at home, it’s important to understand what causes flare-ups to happen. Rheumatoid arthritis flare-ups are periods when your symptoms become more intense and painful. Understanding the common causes or triggers of these flare-ups helps to manage and prevent them as effectively as possible.

Stress is a significant trigger for RA flare-ups. Its impact on your health can exacerbate inflammation and worsen RA symptoms. Managing stress through relaxation techniques and mindfulness practices can help reduce the frequency and severity of flare-ups.

Another common trigger for RA flare-ups is infection. Even minor infections like having a cold or the flu can cause an immune system response that leads to increased inflammation in the joints. Additionally, changes in the weather, especially leading to cold and damp weather, can also trigger flare-ups by causing joint stiffness and discomfort. (Learn more about enduring arthritis and cold weather after this article.)

Certain lifestyle choices can contribute to flare-ups, as well. Maintaining an unhealthy diet, overdoing physical activity, and even prolonged periods of being inactive can all add stress to your joints and lead to inflammation. Recognizing and avoiding these triggers can make a substantial difference in the effectiveness of self care for rheumatoid arthritis at home.

Tips for Creating Routines for Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-Care

Establishing a consistent daily routine that incorporates exercise, diet, and stress management techniques is an effective method of rheumatoid arthritis self-care you can do at home. 

Consistency helps in managing symptoms and preventing RA flare-ups. It’s also important to listen to your body's signals and adjust your routine as needed. Rest when necessary and avoid overdoing it when you’re exercising or participating in other physical activities. Try to balance being active with proper rest (such as getting more restorative sleep) to prevent excess strain on your joints.

Like any new health routine, it’s also important to speak to your doctor to create a plan for your rheumatoid arthritis self care at home. They’ll be able to help you customize a routine for self care for rheumatoid arthritis to meet your specific needs. Regular check-ins with your doctor will also help you stay on track and make necessary adjustments over time.

Examples of Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-Care Routines

Creating effective routines for rheumatoid arthritis self-care at home is as easy as making a few healthy lifestyle changes. These routines aim to help manage symptoms, reduce pain, and improve your overall well-being. By consistently incorporating activities and habits that support joint health, reduce inflammation, and promote relaxation, you can better control RA flare-ups and enhance your quality of life.

Take a look at these examples of self care for rheumatoid arthritis to be inspired for your routines:

  1. Exercising and staying active
  2. Choosing a healthy diet
  3. Practicing stress management techniques
  4. Using tools for rheumatoid arthritis relief

1. Exercising for Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-Care

Incorporating regular exercise into your daily routine is essential for rheumatoid arthritis self care at home. For example, stretching exercises improve flexibility and reduce joint stiffness. Focus on stretches that target major muscle groups and joints like neck stretches, shoulder rolls, and hand and finger stretches. These activities help maintain joint mobility and alleviate morning stiffness.

Low impact exercises like walking, swimming, and cycling are excellent choices. They’re ideal for supporting heart health and maintaining joint mobility without causing excessive strain. Other exercises can also improve overall energy levels and reduce fatigue associated with RA. You’ll also want to integrate some strength training to build muscle around the joints for better support. 

2. Healthy Diet for Rheumatoid Arthritis Self Care at Home

What you eat becomes vitally important in rheumatoid arthritis self-care at home. Eating anti-inflammatory foods manage common symptoms of RA and can help with pain relief.

Choosing foods rich in omega-3 fatty acids like fatty fish as well as eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds can reduce inflammation. These foods contain antioxidants and healthy fats that benefit your overall health, making a healthy diet a good idea for everyone regardless.

It’s equally important to avoid potential trigger foods that can make inflammation worse. Try to limit processed foods high in trans fats and sugars, red meat, and refined carbohydrates like white bread and pastries. Instead of these, it’s better to go for whole, unprocessed foods as a source of essential nutrients.

Additionally, you need to make sure you’re staying hydrated. Drinking enough water is one of the simplest routines to support self care for rheumatoid arthritis. It’s ideal to drink at least eight glasses of water a day to maintain joint health and reduce inflammation.

3. Stress Management Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-Care Methods

Stress is known to be a triggering factor for RA symptoms. This makes stress management a vital part of rheumatoid arthritis self-care routines whether you’re home or on the go. Practicing techniques like mindfulness meditation reduces stress and promotes deeper relaxation.

You don’t need to set aside a large block of time for meditation to be effective. Spend a few minutes each day in quiet reflection or guided meditation to calm your mind and body. Techniques like calming breathing exercises can also be used to help manage stress levels and keep RA symptoms at bay.

Other ways to manage stress effectively are by making time for activities you enjoy. Doing things like reading, gardening, or listening to music, gives yourself a mental break and reduces stress. Finding hobbies and relaxation techniques that work for you can make a significant difference in managing RA symptoms and support your rheumatoid arthritis self care at home efforts.

4. Tools for Rheumatoid Arthritis Self-Care

Not all rheumatoid arthritis self-care routines are about lifestyle changes. Instead, some involve choosing proper tools to help you manage symptoms, reduce pain, and improve your overall quality of life. For the best results, you’ll want to choose tools like zero gravity chairs that enhance comfort and reduce joint strain.

In the zero gravity position, your legs are elevated above your heart level, and your body weight is distributed evenly. This neutral body position increases blood circulation while simultaneously reducing excess pressure on the spine and joints. 

You might consider choosing a heated zero gravity chair to enhance your experience even further. Combining the benefits of zero gravity chairs and heat for arthritis pain relief can significantly alleviate discomfort by reducing pressure on the joints and promoting even better blood flow. It facilitates relaxation while also managing inflammation to reduce RA symptoms. 

Other simple tools to aid with rheumatoid arthritis self-care at home include:

  • Button hooks
  • Jar openers
  • Ergonomic kitchen tools
  • Reacher grabbers
  • Electric can openers
  • Adaptive utensils

Each of these tools serves a purpose to help with RA flare-ups. No tool is as all-encompassing as a zero gravity chair, however. They’re safe for people of all ages and make it easier than ever to practice self care for rheumatoid arthritis at home.

Not sure which kind of chair to choose for your RA management? Learn what to look for when choosing a chair for arthritis support next.

By integrating these rheumatoid arthritis self-care practices into your daily routine, you can manage RA symptoms more effectively and improve your overall quality of life. The goal of these tools and techniques is to create a balanced and sustainable routine that supports your well-being. By seeing which works best for you, you’ll be able to live more comfortably with RA.

Disclaimer: This content is not medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare professional when considering implementing changes to your health or workout routines to ensure it’s compatible with your needs.